A Resource for the Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US)


PAD-US and City/Regional Park Agencies

UPDATE: The first functionally complete database of U.S. parks and other protected areas, the Protected Areas Database of the United States version 2.1, is now available to inform outdoor recreation planning efforts and applications. From world-famous destinations to local playgrounds, find out where a park is and who manages it in PADUS 2.1. Learn more about the full PAD-US 2.1 inventory, spatial analysis products, and summary statistics.

If you work for  a city parks department or a regional parks and open space district, or for any local public agency, you probably have workable GIS data for your own park holdings. But if you’re looking for what’s around you, or in a broad area of study, you might not have access to good GIS data on parks and open space lands – and if you are at a state border, this may even be a bigger challenge.

Here’s where PAD-US can help you. As the official national GIS inventory of public parks and protected areas, PAD-US covers all types of these lands, everywhere in the U.S. – neighborhood parks, large city parks, regional preserves and much more.

But first, a caveat – PAD-US is still being developed and in a number of states, it may not yet have data at the city, county or regional levels.  It does have very good data for most state agencies and very complete data for federal agencies. It also includes data on conservation easements that has been approved for public use by the National Conservation Easement Database (NCED), a nonprofit consortium.  By the end of 2018, PAD-US is expected to have most urban parks, which are the biggest data need at present.

If you’re in a state where PAD-US has good local data (e.g., Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon, California, Florida, Georgia, etc. – learn more about states and the plan to complete the PAD-US inventory here), the current versions of the data set can be used directly to help with a range of uses. If you’re in a state where local data is not yet complete, you may be looking more at the value PAD-US adds for state/federal lands in your area – particularly in the West, PAD-US may have more of these near your location than you might expect.

Here are just some of the uses PAD-US has for local and regional park agencies –Download more information in this factsheet:

  • Support grant funding applications with information on surrounding areas
  • Help with countywide park planning
  • Enabling Park Prescription projects
  • Assisting with tourism initiatives and services
  • Provide data for benchmarks
  • Helping park advocates
  • Conducting multi-state assessments
  • Facilitating SCORP needs reviews
  • Collaborating with public health departments on outdoor activity
  • Providing web developers with consistent data for park finder applications

There are other ways PAD-US can help, too – and if you’ve used PAD-US for any of your projects, by all means contact the PAD-US team and tell us your experience!

Finally, here’s a 45 minute recording of a PAD-US webinar describing how PAD-US works and highlighting particular ways it can connect to park and recreation planners, analysts and others.